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University of York plans to be net zero-carbon on campus by 2030

Posted on 26 October 2021

The University of York has announced it will be net zero-carbon by 2030 as it launches an ambitious 10-year green agenda.

Wildlife on campus Credit: University of York, Mark Woodward

The green agenda forms part of the new University strategy, which is launched on October 26th - days before world leaders gather in Glasgow for the crucial climate conference, COP 26.

The 10-year plan also includes:

  • To be a global leader in research for sustainability and sustainable development, and find solutions to local, regional and global sustainability challenges and promote more sustainable research practices.
  • To develop sustainable teaching methods and ensure all students are equipped to become leaders of change, able to take action on the most pressing global issues, including sustainability and climate change.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charlie Jeffery said: "Sustainability has to be at the heart of everything we do and this new strategy will ensure we share best practice across research, teaching, campus resources, knowledge and networks to address societies greatest challenges and help empower civic engagement for the creation of a sustainable society."

Net zero-carbon

The University has already achieved zero waste to landfill and is purchasing all electricity from renewable sources.  Bike pools schemes and campaigns educating staff and students on using less energy have helped lower the University’s carbon footprint and promote sustainable habits.

The University has set a target to achieve net zero carbon emissions on campus by 2030. It also aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions for both on and off campus (indirect) emissions by 2050. This will be achieved by actions including reduced consumption, sustainable travel policies and behaviour changes.


The 10-year plan is guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals which target Education, Research, Health and Wellbeing, Production and Consumption, Cities and Communities and Climate Change.

To help deliver the vision, the University is also launching a new academy, The Environmental Sustainability Academy at York (ESAY), which will strengthen collaboration across disciplines and boost environmental sustainability activities in research, teaching, policy, partnerships, and campus operations. The academy is set to reinforce the University’s strong sustainability history, with planned initiatives such as student Sustainability Clinics, investment in our next generation researchers and green leaders, and a vision to turn the University campus into a ‘living lab’ to test out sustainability initiatives, and act as a springboard to scale up what is learnt.


Further information:

The Sustainability Plan, and the Academy launch on 26 October - more details here.

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